HAVING lost narrowly to Carnoustie Panmure in the GA Cup the previous week, Arbroath Vics returned to the business of collecting league points with a trip into Perthshire to meet Coupar Angus on Saturday.
David McLeish and Ryan Owbridge both returned to the starting line-up, while Kevin Durno slotted into his more accustomed role in central defence. Steve Florence missed out due to a wedding, while Garry Warren dropped down to the bench.
Vics started positively, taking the game to Coupar Angus and after hemming the Perthshire side back in their own half it came as no surprise when they took the lead in the sixth minute. Craig Stephen sent a lovely pass through a square Coupar defence and Mark FOTHERINGHAM beat the offside trap to run on and shoot beyond Scott Ewan from 19 yards.
The home ‘keeper was kept busy as Vics bombarded the Coupar box and he did well to fist away a McLeish corner inside a packed area.
A second goal looked inevitable and it duly arrived in 14 minutes. McLeish flighted a pass through the home defence which Fotheringham raced on to and he pulled it back for Danny McKENZIE to turn into the net.
A minute later, Stephen and Colin Lawson helped the ball across to the far side of the box where Matty Johnston, up with the attack, saw his shot deflected onto the post and behind for a corner off the foot of Alan Smith.
In a rare spell of Coupar pressure, they managed to force several corners but each of them was easily cleared by the Vics’ defence.
Apart from that it was all one-way traffic and with only 27 minutes played, Vics increased their lead. McLeish swung over a corner, which Fotheringham brought under control inside the box, setting up OWBRIDGE for him to curl a shot beyond the ‘keeper.
Lee Hutcheson was called into action for the first time in the match soon after when Gareth Lamb got a shot on target, but it was easily dealt with by the ‘keeper.
Coupar at least kept trying and but for David Burgess failing to gather a Mark McColl cross which flew across the six-yard line they might have found themselves on the scoresheet.
Williamson found himself in the referee’s book when he took exception to a challenge in 36 minutes.
There would have been long odds on the home side staging a comeback, but Vics undid all their good work in the first half by conceding two goals inside the last four minutes before the interval.
A corner from Burgess caused Vics all sorts of bother in 42 minutes and when the ball eventually broke to Gareth LAMB he swept a shot beyond Hutcheson from just inside the area,
Incredibly, just as everyone was looking towards the referee blowing for half-time, Craig Sturrock fired a passback at Hutcheson which the ‘keeper was unable to control and when it broke away from him he upended Lamb as he tried to reach the loose ball. This left the referee little option but to award a penalty, which Derek DUNCAN duly converted.
Half-time: Coupar Angus 2, Arbroath Vics 3.
The home side was first to show after the interval when they were awarded a free-kick towards the left-hand side of the box, but McBride’s effort was straight at Hutcheson. A desperate clearance from Duncan almost ended up with him blasting McLeish’s cross into his own net.
Vics made a change in the 57th minute when Lawson was replaced by Garry Warren.
The substitute almost scored with his first touch when Vics were awarded an indirect free-kick inside the box after Ewan had handled a pass-back, but he made amends by diving to push Warren’s netbound effort round the post.
Hutcheson made an equally important save soon after when Burgess curled a shot towards the far post which the ‘keeper did well to get a hand to, before diving out to smother the loose ball.
Durno was yellow carded for dissent before Coupar made a change, sending on Ross McCaw for Burgess.
The homesters almost levelled the game in 69 minutes when McColl hoisted a free-kick into the box and Duncan Cocker made space to lob the ball over Hutcheson, but the ‘keeper made a great save, leaping backwards to tip the ball over the bar.
In 75 minutes the home side made a second change when Michael Malone was introduced in place of Cocker.
Three minutes later, Vics gave themselves a two goal cushion when the Coupar defence failed to properly clear a Warren corner and when Durno nodded the ball back towards the box, STEPHEN ran on to pick his spot beyond Ewan.
Straight from the re-start, McBride broke free on the right and whipped over a cross, which picked out Lamb and his header beat Hutcheson to his left but cannoned back off the post.
Both teams made further changes with Scott Blair replacing McBride in the Coupar ranks, while Vics withdrew McKenzie for Danny Brown.
Inside the last five minutes Vics had further chances to add to their lead, with Ewan making a fine save from Stephen, before Owbridge turned a Warren cross over the bar from close range. With the last kick of the ball, Sturrock shot into the side net, but they had to settle for a 4-2 win.
Coupar Angus: Ewan, McColl, Williamson, Smith, Cromb, McBride (Blair 83), Burgess (McCaw 68), Duncan, Henderson, Lamb, Cocker (Malone 75). Unused substitute: Spence.
Arbroath Vics: Hutcheson, Laing, McLeish, Johnston, Durno, Sturrock, McKenzie (Brown 84), Fotheringham, Stephen, Lawson (Warren 57), Owbridge. Unused substitutes: Simpson and Cargill, gk.
Referee: Mr. K. Graham.
Vics are at home tomorrow (Saturday) when they are again pitted against Perthshire opponents. Blairgowrie are the guests at Ogilvy Park in a league fixture. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m.
Emirates Scottish Junior Cup
In the second round of the Emirates Scottish Junior Cup, drawn at Pollok Social Club on Sunday, Vics were handed a tough tie away to former winners, Tayport. It is scheduled to take place on October 29.
McBookie.com East North League
P W D L F A Pts
Dundee Violet 5 5 0 0 19 4 15
Dundee North End 5 4 0 1 11 5 12
Lochee Harp 5 3 0 2 14 13 9
Montrose Roselea 4 2 1 1 8 3 7
Kirriemuir Thistle 5 2 1 2 9 8 7
Arbroath Vics 4 2 1 1 7 6 7
East Craigie 5 2 1 2 10 13 7
Blairgowrie 5 1 1 3 9 12 4
Brechin Vics 4 1 0 3 6 14 3
Forfar Albion 4 0 1 3 4 10 1
Coupar Angus 4 0 0 4 8 17 0